I was unable to get the photo to upload, but here’s a link:
The painting, produced by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël in 1889, is entitled “A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July,” the title and subject matter so perfectly Dutch as to feature multiple iconic symbols of the Netherlands. The most immediately noticeable features of the painting are the windmill–its central subject–and the dimensions of the painting, which is ironically in portrait rather than landscape. This highlights the next prominent features: the expansive sky and the waterway, the latter of which features the windmill’s reflection. From here, my eyes dart back and forth, noticing the small hut and cow to the left, and the man walking up the pathway to the right. Its soft impressionistic brushstrokes conceal the clear geometry beneath, but as I look at it longer I realize that everything leads inward towards the windmill, which occupies a central place in the painting and serves as the vanishing point for the work’s perspective. As you gaze at it longer, other details become apparent, especially along the horizon line. There’s the distant steeple of a church rising above clusters of low buildings. There are trees along this flat line too, breaking up its straightness. I begin to notice the birds in the sky and their reflections in the water, as well as the contours of the polder landscape and the flowers and brush along the water. The landscape is intentionally designed by the painter to draw your eye in specific ways, but as you look these details become more apparent and draw your gaze in other directions.